32-Mile Memorial Birthday Walk – May 18, 2013

For the third year in a row, we will hold a memorial walk in Haleyville on May 18, 2013, in Mark’s honor. This is the same day as the 5k/10k race (you can’t do the walk and the race). For anyone who wants to participate, it will begin 6:00 am and will be a continuous 32 miles in honor of Mark’s 32nd birthday, which is May 15. This walk will be held each year, with one mile added every year to represent his age.

The route will begin and end at Haleyville High School. This is a personal walk for me and it’s not about the money or participants; it’s about remembering our brother on his birthday, and putting myself thru some pain in his honor. We welcome anyone who wants to participate. The entry fee is $30 and supports The Mark Forester Foundation. We will carry the same baton as previous years. We anticipate the walk taking about 11-12 hours. There will be staging areas every 5 to 7 miles with water and few snacks.

The walk will include a stop at Mark’s grave where we will perform Memorial Push-ups, lead by MSgt (Ret) Dennis Bernier, who was Mark’s Team Sergeant. And a pass by the flag pole in front of our parent’s house. The flag atop the pole has special meaning because it’s the flag that Lt. Col. Frank Latt had in the cockpit with him while providing Mark air support on his final battle. Frank presented this flag to us shortly after his return from deployment.


Click HERE to register via Active.com

T-shirts this year are provided by T-Riffic Tees. We thank them for their support.

The below picture is the group before starting at 6:00 am last year.

Matt Mueller (teammate of Mark’s) has provided several tips for preparing for the walk and during it. Here is great information to follow:

1. Start using the shoes/boots that you plan on using for the Ruck March, NOW!!!!! This also applies to pants, shorts, shirts, cold/hot weather gear you plan on wearing. Don’t let there be any surprises pop-up 10-15 miles into the march. DO NOT SHOW UP TO THE MARCH WITH UNTESTED GEAR, you WILL pay the price if you do.

2. Start using the socks you plan on marching with, figure out what works for you i.e. wool socks with a liner, ankle socks, or two pair of liners. Whatever you like, USE IT, TRAIN WITH IT.

3. BACKPACK. If you plan on carrying one, just as the first 2 tips, start using it during your training NOW. NO SURPRISES.

4. Start putting together a first aid/BLISTER kit, some suggestions include, but not limited to; mole skin, band aids, blister patches, vaseline, sunscreen, chapstick. As you continue training you will probably start to think of things to add. Also get smart on blister treatment, you can google it, there will be a lot of guys that can help you during the march but it’s always nice to be self-sufficient if needed.

5. When training for the march, Never run or jog with your pack. Have fun training, get outside, crosstrain, train your whole body. Slowly work up to the march. Start with lower mileage and work up, 2-3 marches a week at varying distances will be good, once again, HAVE FUN.

6. If you want to get really aggressive about training there are a couple web sites that have some really good workouts for overall fitness: crossfit.com crossfitendurance.com, and militaryathlete.com

7. FOOD; during the march you will want to snack on a variety of food/power gels/beef jerky/snacks, start eating and experimenting with the snacks you like during training, this will identify any bowel problems you might or might not have while walking 32 miles at one time. Diarrhea/upset stomach is not your friend during a ruck march.

Walking seems very easy, but I can assure you it’s not if you’re not prepared. I use Scarpa hiking boots b/c they have a firm heel and they worked great the previous years. There are many options though. Several of Mark’s teammates attended the last two years and it was great walking with them.

Here are a few more specifics and suggestions about the walk:

-To be clear, the 10k/5k/fun run race is still on too. The first race doesn’t begin until 9:00 am. You can’t participate in the walk and the run. They are completely separate events
-Parking for the walk will be at the Haleyville High School main lot near the electronic sign
-If you plan to participate, please register on line so that we can prepare adequately. Registration link is above
-Begins at 6:00 am at electronic sign at Haleyville High School. Please be there early to get your t-shirt.
-There will be staging areas every 5-7 miles to eat a snack, drink, change socks, etc. We anticipate making each stop at the staging areas as quick as possible–10-15 minutes
-We will have a police escort. If anyone gets too far behind the group, they will need to be picked up by the trailing car and taken to the next staging area. If we get too spread out, the police are concerned for their safety
-We suggest bringing socks to change at every staging area
-If you have valuables and don’t know where to keep them, you can put them in the trailing car, which will follow the group the entire walk
-You need to bring your own blister kit and first aid kit. Also, if you want power/energy bars, you will need to bring your own. We can only provide water, Gatorade, some fruit, and lunch
-The weather this time of year can be very comfortable or hot; but I’d recommend to be prepared for heat and humidity

The below pictures are from last year’s walk:

Bobby getting five at the fourth rest stop–Forester home.

If you will be visiting Haleyville for the first time, here is a link with city information. Haleyville Chamber of Commerce

Here are hotel options for the area:
1. Imperial Inn (formerly Windwood Inn) – Haleyville. This is an old hotel right in town. Phone 205-486-5205.
2. Hampton Inn – Winfield (27 miles away). Phone 205-487-1270.
3. Best Western – Russellville (27 miles away). Many of Mark’s teammates have stayed here for previous events. Phone 256-332-1002.
4. Hampton Inn – Jasper (40 miles). May be best for those coming from the south (if you can’t stay in Haleyville). Phone 205-221-3334.

Below are the walkers doing Memorial push-ups at the first stop.

Taking a break at second rest stop.

About mile 7

Click link below to view the walk route for this year.